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Apple, Amazon backing Foxconn's Toshiba bid; SoftBank fund looks to add US$7B


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Apple, Amazon backing Foxconn's Toshiba bid; SoftBank fund looks to add US$7B


* SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks with potential investors in Canada and the Middle East to raise additional capital of US$7 billion for its tech fund, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News. The new commitments would take the total pool to US$100 billion, though there's no guarantee that the parties will reach an agreement, the sources said.

* Sharp Corp.'s parent company Foxconn Technology Group, or Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., has financial support from Apple Inc. and Inc. in its bid for Toshiba Corp.'s memory chip business, The Nikkei reports, citing the key iPhone assembler's Chairman Terry Gou.

* Private equity firm KKR & Co. has raised US$9.3 billion for its third Asia fund, Bloomberg News reports. About US$800 million of the pool comes from the firm's balance sheet and employees as it steps up investments in Japan, according to the report. A consortium led by KKR reportedly has bid about ¥1.8 trillion for Japan's Toshiba Corp.'s memory chip business and has the advantage of support from the Japanese government.

* Singtel received a conditional approval from the Singapore Exchange to list its subsidiary NetLink Trust, The Straits Times reports. NetLink is looking to raise at least S$2 billion from the IPO and Singtel planned to sell its stake to below 25%.


* NTT DATA Corp.'s German unit itelligence AG acquired all the shares of Dutch-based SAP consulting firm Goldfish ICT Services BV. NTT DATA Corp. is an IT services arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.

* Nintendo will offer a paid online subscription service for its Switch console in 2018. One month's subscription will cost ¥300 with three months running to ¥800, and a year's membership available for ¥2,400. It will also launch a smartphone app next year which allows players to invite friends, set up gaming sessions, or chat with friends during games on their second screens. Online play for Switch games will be free until the full service comes online in 2018.

* Sony Corp. will soon release its first smartphone game "Everybody's Golf," which will be free to download for iOS and Android, according to The Wall Street Journal.

* SoftBank Group will partner with Japanese robotics manufacturer PLENGoer Robotics Inc. to launch a speaker with built in artificial intelligence by the end of 2017, The Nikkei reports.


* SK Telecom Co Ltd is set to launch the 4.5G or LTE-A Pro services, which use the five band Carrier Aggregation technology to speed up data transmission, on June 5 in 57 cities in South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reports. The South Korean telco's five-band CA technology offers up to 700 Mbps of speed, which is 40% faster than the maximum speed of the current LTE service, and the company plans to expand the new service to cover 50% of the country's population by the end of this year.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. plans to invest 700 billion South Korean won in its Indian production facilities for smartphones and refrigerators to double the production capacity, ET News reports. With the investment, the Samsung Group unit will reportedly start the construction work on June 7 to expand the size of its production factory in Noida, India, from the current 120,000 square meters to 240,000.

* South Korean telco LG Uplus Corp. formed a strategic partnership with British telco Vodafone Group Plc to strengthen its presence in the global market and discover new business opportunities, Financial News reports. The two companies reportedly pledged to share knowledge, conduct joint consulting of the organization and system of LG Uplus, and cooperate in global business.

* South Korean tech company LG Electronics Inc. will launch its new smartphone, the LG X500, in South Korea on June 9, Money Today reports. The new model comes with a large battery capacity of 4500mAh, which is enough for two days of use, and is priced at 319,000 South Korean won. LG Corp. is the parent company of LG Electronics.


* Cainiao, the logistic arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and SF Express, China's largest private courier service provider, settled a data-sharing dispute after the intervention by China's State Post Bureau. The companies resumed data sharing and business cooperation on Saturday, two days after SF Express refused to provide additional data to Cainiao and was removed as a shipping option, affecting more than 1 million merchants and consumers on Alibaba's e-commerce marketplaces.

* Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing service arm of Alibaba, is sentenced by a Beijing court to pay Locojoy, a Beijing-based video game developer, 260,000 Chinese yuan in compensation over copyright infringement, reports Sohu. In 2015, Locojoy found out its famous game "I'm MT" had a similar version by a developer who was a user of Alibaba Cloud, but Alibaba did not respond to Locojoy's request to disclose the user's identity.

* Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu Technology Co. appointed former TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. global COO and president of China, Yang Zhe, as senior vice president, overseeing the marketing of Meizu's products, 36 Kr reports. The company has also set up an overseas sales team and an e-commerce team to foster businesses in the two areas. TCL Communication Technology is a unit of TCL Corp.

* Google launched its mobile payment system Android Pay in Taiwan for users with smartphones of Android 4.4 or later versions and NFC functions, United Daily News reports. The service is now tied in with credit cards from CTBC Bank and First Bank, while Shin Kong Bank, EnTie Bank and Hua Nan Bank will join the pact in the future.

* China Communication Technology Labs, a government-backed research lab, is creating a Chinese standard for push notifications on Android phones made for the local market, Jiemian reports. As Google's notice service is not available in Android phones sold in China.

* ASR Microelectronics, a Shanghai-based chip solution provider for mobile devices, bought the mobile business unit of the U.S. semiconductor company Marvell, EETChina reports. ASR expects Marvell's baseband research team will help the company win clients outside China.


* The Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore is collaborating with the Singapore Exchange to ease the IPO for high-tech startups, The New Paper reports. The initiative will allow startups to process an IPO at a reduced fee and shorter time.

* China-based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is investing US$15 million in building a technological research and development center in Bangkok, Krungthep Turakij reports. OpenLab Bangkok aims to provide one-stop information and communication technology infrastructure support to start-ups and enterprises as well as to facilitate Thailand's digital transformation drive.

* Thai telco TOT Public Co. Ltd. completed the first phase, covering 3,000 villages, of the government's effort to expand internet access to every village across Thailand, Krungthep Turakij reports. The state owned telco reaffirmed that the remaining three phases, consisting of 24,700 villages, will be completed by the end of this year.

* Grab Malaysia, a ride-hailing service provider, inked a memorandum of understanding with Perodua, a Malaysian carmaker, to provide a value-added service, Free Malaysia Today reports. The agreement will benefit the drivers of GrabCar, a service offered by Grab, to have minimal time for their car registration and to have a one-stop service center.

* Thai mobile operator Advanced Info Service Public Co. Ltd. and the Samsung Group began providing a firmware over-the-air update for Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones, which equips the devices with MIMO 4x4 with CA and 256 QAM support, Ban Muang reports. The update allows users to enjoy a 4G connection of up to 700 Mbps.


* Heads of Australian media companies including News Corp. unit FOXTEL joined Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra to lobby for changes to Australia's media ownership rules, including the "two out of three rule," that makes it difficult for them to compete with internet giants such as Netflix Inc. and Google Inc. According to Reuters, the move was reportedly a last-ditch effort to sway the upper house into voting for Turnbull's reforms.

* Vodafone Hutchison Australia is taking the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to the Federal Court over the latter's ruling on domestic mobile roaming, as it seeks to reset the process, The Australian reports. Vodafone thinks the process has not been properly implemented. Vodafone Hutchison Australia is a joint venture between Vodafone Group Plc and CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. unit Hutchison Telecommunications Australia.

* Singaporean telco MyRepublic will provide its existing customers in the Australian city of Wollongong 1Gbps internet speeds, reportedly 10 times faster than what is offered by major telcos in the market, The Australian reports. New customers in the New South Wales city will be offered the service for a monthly fee of A$129, compared to the A$300-plus fee that retailers charge.

* Australian print media industry body NewsMediaWorks named Peter Miller, a media veteran and former executive director, global market strategy at U.K. adtech solutions company Adstream, as CEO.


* The resulting entity from the merger of Reliance Communications Ltd. and Aircel will be called Aircom, The Economic Times (India) reports. RCom's lenders have also agreed to a debt restructuring plan under which the Indian telco will be given until December to close its transactions with Aircel and Canada's Brookfield Infrastructure Group, along with reducing its 450 billion Indian rupee debt and implementing a standstill on RCom's debt servicing for the next 7 months.

* The province of Punjab in Pakistan is imposing a 19.5% sales tax on internet services such as 3G, 4G and DSL, effective July 1, according to Propakistani.

* Nepalese mobile operator Ncell has launched 4G services in Kathmandu Valley, covering Nagarkot, and Banepa and Dhulikhel. According to Malaysian Digest, the Axiata Group-owned telco will test its 4G service in 40 other cities nationwide and has set a target of providing LTE services to 15% of Nepal's population within the year.

* Samsung India, in a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, will add two technical training schools in Bengaluru and Jamshedpur, IANS reports.

* HMD Global Oy is expected to introduce the Nokia 3, 5 and 6 smartphones in India on June 13, The Economic Times of India reports.

* Indian public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has appointed former Infosys Ltd. principal architect Shashi Shekar Vempati as CEO, Television Post reports.


MarketWeek: The story behind CenturyLink's CEO succession plan: As the merger between CenturyLink and Level 3 moves closer toward completion, investors are getting a better sense of what the combined company will look like going forward. And thus far, they seemed to like what they are seeing.

Pruitt defends Paris exit, refuses to opine on Trump's climate beliefs: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said the president made a "courageous decision" to exit the Paris Agreement on climate change and the move would not keep the U.S. from working with other countries on climate issues.

Data Dispatch: 'Wonder Woman': An Amazon that delivers: Warner Bros. and DC Comics have struggled to breathe new creative life into the studio's superhero movies, leading to a string of critical disappointments. But where the heroes have stumbled, a heroine may succeed.


Economics of Internet: Keeping up with the evolution of OTT at BroadcastAsia 2017: Execs at the BroadcastAsia conference said that as competition increases, online video streaming services must find ways to go beyond basic content delivery.

Global Multichannel: Global markets update – India and the Netherlands: Kagan has published updated Global Multichannel & Broadband analysis for two markets.

Global Multichannel: Italy's broadband capacity increasingly ready for UHD services: The number of "UHD ready" broadband subscriptions in Italy increased 98.4% in 2016, with more than 1.5 million Italian households subscribing to fixed broadband services with average connection speeds faster than 15 Mbps.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Frances Wang, Wil Hathaway and Kevin Osmond contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription.